Overland Trade in the Central Maya Lowlands: the View from Trinidad de Nosotros, El Petén, Guatemala

Author(s): Ellen Moriarty; Matthew Moriarty

Year: 2015


Although the largest Classic Maya political capitals are frequently assumed to have served as the critical nodes in long-distance trade networks, empirical data from decades of research suggest that ancient Maya trade was more nuanced in its organization. This paper presents a view on Maya trade from the perspective of Trinidad de Nosotros, a port on Guatemala's Lake Petén Itzá. Trinidad's position, astride overland trade routes and intermediate between these routes and a major political capital, provides an ideal vantage point for exploring the intersection of trade and politics at the local level. Drawing on obsidian analyses, ceramic data, and the architecture of harbor facilities at Trinidad, we explore the structure of trade in an emergent Late Classic Maya polity. These data demonstrate both the complex and heterarchical structure of ancient Maya trade, and the need to consider small and medium-sized centers as potentially critical to long-distance trade networks.

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Cite this Record

Overland Trade in the Central Maya Lowlands: the View from Trinidad de Nosotros, El Petén, Guatemala. Matthew Moriarty, Ellen Moriarty. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396596)


Maya Port Trade

Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;